Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Best Quote I Heard All Day
There must be courage; there must be no awe. There must be criticism, for humor, to my mind, is encapsulated in criticism. There must be a disciplined eye and a wild mind.--Dorothy Parker

My writing philosophy, precisely stated by Dottie.

So I ate a little crow in the last entry's comments. I think that perhaps many of you think that I am set in stone when I opine.

That is far from true. My opinions can always change, given the intelligent argument. I still find big-population knitalongs to be a bore. But I do acknowledge the need for many to belong, to be part of a community. So we're done with this now.

What Knitting Magazines?
From the New York Times, Saturday February 18th:
"The State of the Blogosphere" presented at sifry.com this week by David L. Sifry, the founder of Technorati, a leading blog search site, shows just how complicated things have become. According to Mr. Sifry's data, mainstream media sites, as measured by the number of blogs linking to them, are trouncing news-oriented blogs by a growing margin.

[extraneous verbiage snipped]

The report also shows that while blogs may present no real threat to top news organizations, niche publications are far more vulnerable. "This realm of publishing, which I call 'The Magic Middle' of the attention curve," Mr. Sifry writes, "highlights some of the most interesting and influential bloggers and publishers that are often writing about topics that are topical or niche. And what is so interesting to me is how exciting, informative and witty these blogs often are. I've noticed that often these blogs are more topical or focused on a niche area, like gardening, knitting, nanotech, MP3's or journalism."

So where does that leave the knitting magazines? As I've said before, scrambling and getting nowhere fast.

Do we now see the knitting magazines each doing a blog? I'm betting on it. Because they're so far behind the eight-ball at this point, what do they have left? Certainly not their paper. They can't compete with what's being written and designed by bloggers.

I haven't seen the new Interweave Knits yet, despite my subscribing two months ago (so where the fuck is it, IK fulfillment department?). I still hold out hope that IK will at least improve but I don't know. I've not been tremendously impressed with the designs recently but I still think it's the best of the lot. Interweave still publishes quality books and I still love Spin-Off, Handwoven and Piecework. I always get the sense that the editorial staff for all four magazines cares about what they do and how they present it. Must be my editor's sixth sense.

I've been trashing Knitter's for so long, it's almost a waste of my cyber-breath. And Vague? Garbage.

Cast-On doesn't even merit a mention, the disgrace that it is. INknitters? An initial good idea that has gone so far south that it should be euthanized.

Starry Night Over and Out
The last bit was spun on Friday and I've got two half-full bobbins left to ply.

Three plus pounds, 230 yards of roving. Ten fat skeins. This is the most I've spun of one thing. And I learned a lot from it.

First, I honed up my drafting skills. This made for some inconsistency in the finished product.

The ball on the left was the first spun. The one on the right was spun somewhere in the middle of the project. You can see, even from this not-so-clear photo, that the yarn in the first ball is a bit heavier and quite a bit more loosely plyed than the ball on the right.

I knew this was happening while I was spinning Starry Night, which is why my gut told me that the yarn will ultimately become a shawl. Although most of the yarn was spun like the later ball, I still don't think that this would work well in a sweater necessarily.

So here's the test swatch:

I did this in the car on the way to New York City on Saturday. It's Old Shale, the only lace pattern I could remember from memory but it worked for what I wanted to see--how the yarn would perform in a balanced garter/eyelet pattern, which is what I thought the yarn would need.

It works for me. [Ed. note: I will not be using Old Shale but probably a pattern from Heirloom Knitting.]

This is a heavy fingering weight, in my mind. And it will make a very nice, heavier shawl to wear with jeans and the like. This will be my stupid project when I knit the Wedding Ring shawl.

So what do I spin next? I could go on to the next large project, which is Emerald City. However, I feel like a short shot between biggies. So I may spin this merino/tercel, which is 2 ounces:

Or this, a merino of which I have a pound and a half:

I'm sick of blue, though. So it will probably be the raspberry.

The Melanie
I'm on row 55 now and things are finally going the right way.

The blue isn't quite this lurid in person. It is a true ice blue. But at least the picture shows some progress. There are 60+ rows to each repeat and I am only on the first one; however, I would guestimate that it will take me roughly three weeks to complete this center square, so that's not too bad. The border is self-edging, so it is only a two-part shawl. This should be finished by April sometime.

And then there's the dressing. Fun.

The best thing that I've learned from this and gotten through my thick skull is this: With k2tog, the yo follows. With ssk (or k2 tog bl), the yo comes first. Generally. Once I had this solidified in my brain, working the knitted lace medallions at the bottom and sides came easily. Although I generally use ssk, I am doing the k2 tog through the back loops as Sharon Miller recommends and I find that it's actually quicker when I am knitting the center pattern stitch. Whether you use one or the other method matters little in the finished product, in my opinion.

Break Time
I took a four-day break from e-mail, blogging and so forth because I needed to spend time on the aforementioned projects. Plus the family was home, which makes writing a bit dicey, since my "office" is right next to the kitchen.

However, in the course of this break, I decided to suspend writing Swing Time, simply because I don't have the time to devote to this blog, that blog and all my other projects. I did Swing Time as an experiment to see if I could sustain that much writing. I can't. So I will leave the site up for the nonce, since it has some good links. And of course, if you want, you can always reach me at knitz at optonline dot net.

I never feel like I have enough time to get shit done. And there's that rare and handy loom sitting next to me that needs attention. Yeah.

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